Beyond Cost Savings: Driving Business Value from the Cloud Through XaaS
Beyond Cost Savings:
Value from the Cloud
By using the cloud for analytics services and other
run-the-business capabilities, organizations can
move quickly into new markets and free capital for
| FUTURE OF WORK
The savings and agility provided by cloud computing have solidi-
fied IT as vital to meeting the strategic ambitions of every enter-
prise. Whether or not a business has adopted cloud, its senior
management is undoubtedly considering its potential to contrib-
ute not only to cost reduction but also to growth objectives.
As with other technology shifts, commoditization — a reduction
in the price and perceived difference among competitive offer-
ings — is playing a major role in determining the speed and scope
of cloud adoption. In the case of cloud, adoption has been driven
primarily by the commoditization of Internet bandwidth and ser-
vices, making IT resources available to anyone with access to the
When it comes to IT, most businesses have traditionally oper-
ated on an industrial (asset-heavy) model and leveraged inter-
nal economies of scale. Many modern businesses, however, are
now predominantly service-based, creating relationships with
customers and delivering value-added services tailored to their
needs. Cloud computing has hastened IT down this path. With
so many IT resources available as cloud-powered services, orga-
nizations today look to leverage the right mix of “anything as a
service” offerings to help them differentiate their products and
Amid these changes, the way companies use IT to drive business
growth is shifting. Traditionally, IT was primarily applied to back-
office workloads and enabling greater productivity within the or-
ganization. Today, a growing number of companies are also using
IT (much of it from the cloud) at the “front end” of their business,
in the applications or services through which they interact with
customers and drive new business.
This white paper suggests ways to use the cloud to enhance
operational agility, as well as deliver cost savings. It specifically
describes how organizations can embrace cloud-powered envi-
ronments to drive insights from big data analytics, enter new
markets more quickly and shift IT budgets from maintenance ac-
tivities to innovation pursuits.
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BEYOND COST SAVINGS: DRIVING BUSINESS VALUE FROM THE CLOUD THROUGH XaaS 3
4 FUTURE OF WORK July 2013
Embracing Anything as a Service
From an IT perspective, cloud computing is often described as falling into one of
several fundamental models: Infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as a service
(PaaS) and software as a service (SaaS). However, the flexibility of the cloud has
led to an ever-increasing range of solutions under the general term of “anything
as a service” or “XaaS.” These are delivered increasingly through hybrid (public
and private) clouds and one or more of the IaaS, PaaS and SaaS models. They
include industry-specific business process as a service (BPaaS), such as insurance
underwriting or order management; and more generic business services, such as
analytics and collaboration; and IT-specific services, such as storage, desktop or
archiving as a service.
As enterprises continue to pursue “asset-light” models, cloud-based delivery of
such services frees them to innovate and drive new business without being limited
by the cost, availability or time required to develop traditional in-house systems.
Today’s XaaS offerings allow organizations to choose exactly which IT or business
functions to perform internally and which they can better source from the cloud.
XaaS solutions provide not only lower costs but also a flexible and low-risk infra-
structure for anything from new product development to data insights and
innovative Web-based businesses. The pay-as-you-go model also frees money for
innovation and growth, instantly scales up or down as business needs change and
provides access from anywhere in the world, through any Internet-capable device.
Enterprises can build their own XaaS “catalog” of services, purchase them from
outside providers or (as is often the case) use a combination of these approaches.
The Business Value of Cloud
When considering XaaS, many organizations look only to reduce costs. Saving
money is indeed a powerful benefit, but it is not the only — or even the most
important — competitive advantage the cloud offers.
As organizations gain experience, they find that agility is the real game-changer.
The cloud delivers the most lasting business value when it allows an organization
to do things it never could before. This includes entering a new market, creating a
new product or service or inventing an entirely new industry.
In our work with customers worldwide, we find three primary areas in which the
cloud is driving growth:
• Deriving new insights from data to improve the efficiency or effectiveness
of business processes or to uncover opportunities to provide new products or
• Reducing the cost, risk or time required to enter new physical or virtual markets.
• Using cloud-based services to shift funding from everyday operations or
internal infrastructure to initiatives that grow revenue or profits.
XaaS solutions provide not only lower costs but
also a flexible and low-risk infrastructure for
anything from new product development to data
insights and innovative Web-based businesses.
When choosing which cloud service is right for
you — and from which provider — the following
questions can help in your assessment:
• What is the specific quantifiable business
result desired? (For example, percent increase
in revenue, reduction in costs, increase in
customer satisfaction, etc.)
• Which specific applications are required to
enter a new physical or virtual marketplace?
What data or services do they need from my
organization’s legacy platforms?
• How much control do I need over a given appli-
cation? How will I manage this remote infra-
structure and get real-time visibility into its
performance and SLA compliance?
• How “cloud ready” is my IT staff and end users?
Are our businesses processes mature enough
to shift to a generic SaaS application rather
than a custom in-house platform?
• Does my IT staff have the development skills
it needs to build modern apps on a PaaS
• How will I move my organization’s legacy appli-
cations and data from on-premise to the cloud?
• What regulatory and security requirements
must a cloud service provider meet, such as
control over the physical location of the appli-
cation and its data?
• What are my key criteria for a cloud services
Cloud Provider Checklist
No single type of cloud service is right for every enterprise, and no single provider
is right for every organization’s needs. In fact, the huge range of cloud services and
cloud providers makes it essential to create a cloud strategy based on a careful
assessment of each organization’s unique business requirements and technical
Best Practices for Cloud-Based Growth
Transforming the business may mean redefining business models, identifying
new revenue streams or expanding into new geographies to open new business
opportunities. Transforming IT infrastructure often means increasing its agility to
respond to dynamic business needs. Transforming processes may involve:
• Simplifying and harmonizing workflows and policies to achieve lower costs and
• Making it easier to scale how work is done to meet rapidly evolving workforce
and business needs, or for use on new mobile platforms.
• Adding new analytics platforms to improve product or service offerings.
Together, such initiatives can transform the entire enterprise, driving significant
and ongoing cost reductions, revenue increases and competitive advantage.
Choosing which cloud services will deliver the most value — and from which
provider — requires an in-depth assessment of each segment of the enterprise
landscape. Determining the proper mix of internal, external and hybrid clouds
also requires understanding which applications are best suited to the cloud, which
older “systems of record” must provide information to them, and the security and
regulatory requirements the cloud provider must meet.
We’ve found that a vision clarification and readiness assessment exercise can
help business and technology stakeholders agree on which systems and business
BEYOND COST SAVINGS: DRIVING BUSINESS VALUE FROM THE CLOUD THROUGH XaaS 5
processes are the best candidates for the cloud. Once an organization identifies the
cloud “levers” that can help it meet its business vision, it can develop a structured
roadmap that utilizes pre-built cloud methodologies, services and solutions to help
implement that vision.
This process should include a detailed IT portfolio analysis, selection of the appro-
priate cloud platform, data center migration, creation of the private/hybrid cloud,
application migration and application/product deployment. The deployment must
be followed by ongoing monitoring and management of the cloud environment to
ensure the efficient, effective and secure delivery of services.
Each organization must also assess which cloud model fits its skill set. Does it have,
for example, data infrastructure experts who can custom-configure an infrastruc-
ture as a service offering to meet its needs? Does it have skilled programmers who
can take advantage of platform as a service? Or does it have well-defined business
processes it can quickly scale with software as a service, perhaps with the help of
business process sourcing services from an external provider?
Finally, it is essential to identify the strengths and weaknesses of each external
cloud platform based on the organization’s needs. Not all providers support, for
example, the same programming languages or can provide customers equal insight
into where data is stored for regulatory purposes or can meet the required industry
or governmental regulatory requirements.
Only after clearly understanding its own needs and the capabilities of various
service providers should an organization begin tactical efforts such as migrating
data and applications from its current environment to the cloud. The important
focus throughout should be on leveraging the cloud not only to reduce costs but
also to drive growth through data analytics, enable entry into new markets or
redirect budget from everyday work to transformative growth initiatives.
Each of these three growth opportunities requires a different set of skills and capa-
bilities from either the customer’s own staff or from an external cloud or profes-
sional services provider.
Deriving Insights from Data
With every credit card swipe, Facebook “like” and move of the assembly line, orga-
nizations generate data. If analyzed properly, this data holds clues to where it can
reduce costs, improve customer service and fine-tune its products and services.
This analysis may also uncover opportunities to develop new offerings, enter new
markets or deliver existing products or services through new channels.
However, as the volume, velocity and variety of data increases, the cost and effort to
store and analyze it can become prohibitive. Cloud-based services can often provide
this infrastructure at far less cost and far more quickly than deploying infrastruc-
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The focus should be on leveraging the cloud
not only to reduce costs but also to drive growth
through data analytics, enable entry into new
markets or redirect budget from everyday work
to transformative growth initiatives.
ture in-house. Organizations can also quickly ramp up a cloud-based data platform
and pay for only as much capacity as they need at any given time. Service providers
can also help with data and deployment issues such as data management.
• A retailer experimenting with new store layouts or promotion strategies can
use the cloud for intensive, short-duration analysis of point-of-sale data without
investing in an expensive, permanent data infrastructure. This requires the ability
to quickly find, collate and upload the proper transaction data, provide easy-to-
use report builders and choose a service provider that can provide the right mix
of scale, performance and cost.
• A financial institution facing a regulatory “stress test” can use the cloud
for complex “what-if” analyses of its ability to withstand a downturn without
using valuable capital for a permanent analytics infrastructure. This requires a
cloud provider that can provide the highest levels of data security and regulatory
compliance, as well as conducting a detailed assessment of the risks vs. the costs
of performing such stress tests in the cloud or in-house.
• A pharmaceuticals company facing a deadline for testing a new drug can use
the cloud for faster evaluation of data from field trials, helping it meet submission
deadlines while holding down costs. A cloud analytics provider in this case would
need to easily accept test data from multiple providers, meet strict HIPAA data
privacy standards and provide greater scale and/or better performance at lower
cost than in-house computing resources.
• An oil and gas exploration company can turn to the cloud for intensive
geographic analysis of potential exploration sites, sparing funds for drilling
expenses. This would require a cloud provider that could provide scalable and
flexible clustering, high-performance computing capabilities and highly scalable
storage to meet the needs of complex seismic data analysis.
• A political campaign can use cloud-based analytics to fine-tine the micro-
targeting of voters without investing in hardware and software it will not need
after the election. It would look for a cloud provider that could provide very rapid,
on-demand scaling of compute, storage and network resources as required.
It might also look for very granular billing to meet the campaign’s extremely
BEYOND COST SAVINGS: DRIVING BUSINESS VALUE FROM THE CLOUD THROUGH XaaS 7
Want to get started using the cloud to deliver
anything as a service? Here are some pointers:
• Educate stakeholders about the cloud,
setting expectations around areas such as per-
formance and security. This helps stakeholders
assess which workloads are best candidates for
the cloud and prevents future conflicts.
• Provide common design principles and guid-
ance for choosing cloud services. Consider
a service catalog of approved cloud services
with SLAs to avoid the waste and inefficiency
of rogue cloud deployments.
• Proceed only after receiving senior man-
agement support to help drive the technol-
ogy and workflow changes needed to ensure
user adoption and maximum benefits from the
• Implement cloud services only after proper
change management, with full participation of
both system owners and business users.
Excelling with XaaS
Entering New Markets
The globalization of commerce, widespread adoption of mobile devices, the rise of
social media and rapid growth in emerging countries are continuously creating new
market opportunities. The new markets may be physical, such as rural villages in
Asia or Latin America. They may also be virtual, such as a new market segment or
a new delivery channel such as mobile devices or e-commerce.
In either case, entering these new markets requires scalable and flexible IT infra-
structures that can quickly and easily grow to support the new market, and shrink
if results do not meet expectations or market conditions change. These infrastruc-
tures must cost-effectively provide access from the new geographies (or delivery
channels such as mobile) to the appropriate applications, data and services within
the enterprise. These cloud-based infrastructures must cost-effectively integrate
with existing enterprise applications, services and information sources, and ensure
required levels of security, data protection and business continuity.
Access to and from new delivery channels such as mobile requires knowledge
of the development, deployment and testing tools for such environments. This
includes expertise in mobile development environments, as well as the creation and
management of mobile test environments.
Integration with internal applications requires public APIs and adherence to data-
sharing frameworks such as those proposed for the so-called “Semantic Web.” It
also requires workflows, processes and tools to identify, collect, share and analyze
data from multiple sources. Another valuable skill is expertise in specialized tools
to “wrapper” legacy systems to ensure their integration with newer environments.
Providing adequate levels of security and compliance requires, first, a thorough
understanding of the security and compliance needs of each workload and data
8 FUTURE OF WORK July 2013
store being considered for the cloud. Those requirements must then be systemati-
cally compared with the technologies and processes in place at each prospective
Examples of how the cloud enables access to new markets include:
• A leading U.S. book publisher needed a robust content delivery Web site to
enter the digital publishing market serving thousands of schools and colleges.
It developed a cloud-based publishing solution to reduce provisioning time for the
infrastructure required for the Web site, and to speed entry into this new market.
• An accounting software vendor needed to move from a traditional licensing
model to SaaS delivery so customers could license only as much software
as needed, when needed. Through a SaaS model, it not only saved over a million
dollars in direct costs but it also reduced the service implementation period from
three months to two weeks.
• Seeking to drive mindshare and collaboration, a reputed university sought
to offer its first online courses and provide a digital platform connecting
over 100,000 students and faculty. It was able to go live within a few weeks
through a dynamic, on-demand cloud delivery platform. It also reduced the cost
and effort required with zero-touch management and increased business visibil-
ity into results, service profiles, policies and flexible operations.
Shifting From Maintenance to Growth
For decades, IT has been trapped by the need to spend as much as 80% of its budget
maintaining existing systems. While this “keep-the-lights-on” work is critical, it does
little to transform or grow the business.
To drive expansion and delivery of new services, IT needs to spend less on supporting
existing applications or systems, and more on buying enough compute, storage and
networking capacity to meet peak needs. By turning to the cloud for “on-demand”
purchases of infrastructure and services, organizations can use more of their tight
IT budgets on new initiatives that grow the business.
Shifting from maintenance to growth requires understanding which functions are
essential but not differentiators, and can thus potentially be handled by an outside
provider. It also requires strategic thinking to properly redirect the savings to new
initiatives. This is where engagement by senior management, and a vision clarifica-
tion and readiness assessment, is critical to identify areas where an organization
truly differentiates itself in the marketplace and can best be served by an external
• A provider of home climate control products wanted to offer customers re-
mote control of their home heating and cooling through a consumer portal.
This portal required high availability and fault tolerance, as well as the ability to
By turning to the cloud for on-demand purchases
of infrastructure and services, organizations
can use more of their tight IT budgets on new
initiatives that grow the business.
BEYOND COST SAVINGS: DRIVING BUSINESS VALUE FROM THE CLOUD THROUGH XaaS 9
10 FUTURE OF WORK July 2013
dynamically grow and shrink capacity to meet seasonal demand. Hosting the
portal on a cloud-based PaaS platform significantly reduced infrastructure and
licensing costs, and eliminated the need to buy hardware to serve peak seasonal
loads. It provided faster time to market and updating than on-premise deploy-
ment and increased productivity with faster promotion of new code. The cloud-
based native content delivery network ensures high service levels even for band-
width-intensive content. Auto insurers can use the cloud to collect, aggregate,
normalize and analyze data from vehicle-based sensors to offer lower rates to
good drivers. Use of the cloud allows insurers to enter this new market without
the cost and risk of building new infrastructure, or the ongoing cost of managing
it. It also enables the rapid, automatic and cost-effective scaling of the infra-
structure for associated services, including first notification of loss under sudden
demand loads, such as following a flood or other disaster.
• As communication services providers offer more complex services, kludgy
order management can harm customer satisfaction and service delivery.
Among their challenges are legacy in-house systems that are expensive to main-
tain and difficult to integrate and adapt to new service offerings. These short-
comings mean longer time to market, more expensive manual processes and
slower customer service. Cloud-based order management as a service slashes
management costs, freeing investment in new offerings. Standardized processes
also speed the delivery of new services and boost customer satisfaction.
Next Steps: Getting Started
In the midst of the global economic downturn, first-generation cloud implemen-
tations focused on cost-cutting. As economic conditions improve and cloud tech-
nologies become more sophisticated, organizations are looking to the cloud to also
drive agility and growth. Three key opportunity areas are data analytics, faster or
easier entry into new markets, and shifting staff and budget from keeping-the-
lights-on activities to innovation.
Not all cloud providers are the same, nor are all applications or services an equally
good fit for the cloud. Before tapping the cloud for growth, carefully consider
your unique business needs, as well as which cloud delivery model is best for your
internal skill sets.
As you look to the cloud for growth, an impartial service provider can help you
choose which applications and services to move to which cloud delivery models,
which combination of internal and external providers to use and how to manage the
combined infrastructure. The more complete your up-front assessment, the greater
the growth you will achieve with the cloud.
BEYOND COST SAVINGS: DRIVING BUSINESS VALUE FROM THE CLOUD THROUGH XaaS 11
About the Authors
Sai Krupasagar is a Cognizant Assistant Vice-President and leads its Cloud Practice.
In this role, he is responsible for Cognizant’s overall cloud strategy, solution assets
and service delivery around helping clients leverage cloud economics to build agile
businesses. Sai is a passionate IT change agent and has been involved in helping
companies to enable agile businesses through new technologies, new architectures,
new tools and new methodologies. His areas of expertise include architecting large
enterprise applications and global project delivery using Agile application lifecycle
management. He can be reached at Sai.Krupasagar@cognizant.com | LinkedIn:
Dilshad Kunnumal is a Program Manager within Cognizant’s Cloud Practice and is
involved in supporting the company’s cloud strategy and execution across industry
domains. He has previously held various roles in the corporate strategy, marketing
and account management functions that covered various facets of business planning
and execution, and the monetization of emerging technology paradigms in the IT
and automotive industries. He holds a B.E. degree from Madras University and a
post-graduate diploma in marketing and operations from Symbiosis, Pune. He can be
reached at Dilshad.KP@cognizant.com | LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/dilshadkun-
About Cognizant Cloud Services and Solutions
As a global leader in business and technology services, we help drive business
benefits with end-to-end cloud services, including development, advising, migration
and implementation. Leverage our cloud strategy and roadmap services to identify
which portions of your business and infrastructure are best suited to the cloud,
and define an adoption roadmap with precise checks and balances to help ensure
In addition to these services, our proven Cognizant BusinessCloud™ Solutions
include the Cognizant assetSERV digital asset management platform; SmartTri-
als, which speeds drug development; and OMaaS, an order management service
to cut costs and improve process efficiency for communications service providers.
Whatever form of XaaS you choose, you’re backed by our hosted cloud infrastruc-
ture and proven Cloud360 comprehensive management platform.
Cognizant (NASDAQ: CTSH) is a leading provider of information technology,
consulting, and business process outsourcing services, dedicated to helping the
world’s leading companies build stronger businesses. Headquartered in Teaneck,
New Jersey (U.S.), Cognizant combines a passion for client satisfaction, technology
innovation, deep industry and business process expertise, and a global, collabora-
tive workforce that embodies the future of work. With over 50 delivery centers
worldwide and approximately 162,700 employees as of March 31, 2013, Cognizant is a
member of the NASDAQ-100, the S&P 500, the Forbes Global 2000, and the Fortune
500 and is ranked among the top performing and fastest growing companies in the
world. Visit us online at www.cognizant.com or follow us on Twitter: Cognizant.